Since our last entry in July, the rains have come and the bucks are enjoying the grass sprouts that have emerged — it looks like spring all over again.
EGee just after losing his velvet
Also the bucks have begun to lose velvet, and the hard, sharp antlers that they will live with until next spring, have been revealed. Hormone levels are up as the bucks approach the fall rut. We hope there isn’t too much fighting this year as the antlers, especially the brow antlers, are very sharp and potentially lethal.
Moki losing his
EGee loves ash leaves
EGee has made it out of isolation and is back with the other seven bucks in the large enclosure. We released him on Saturday after he had a good feed on grains. He headed up towards the barn and joined the herd without too much fuss. He’s been “away” for about five months, so we were a bit apprehensive but we’ve checked everyday since July 2 and haven’t seen any fighting or shunning going on. EGee will be fed on the same schedule as the others, not everyday but every few days. We were pleased when we saw him next to his herd mates. He no longer appears underweight. We still believe he broke a rib during the winter, but it appears to have healed and he is moving easily and quickly especially whenever food of any kind is introduced.
Thanks to design and carpentry skills of Terri Thomson and Sam Bush, the deerkeepers came up with a prototype elevated feeding bowl. As they age, we need to be sure that each one gets enough grains, probiotics or meds in addition to hay.
This winter we developed a system using the large bowls that came with the AP-18 mineral licks rather than just putting the grains on the ground and hoping each one received adequate nutrition or meds. By quickly pouring the grains into the bowls, all the bucks were able to consume equal amounts. Don Murphy designed some simple troughs that allow for quick pouring of the 600g portion. As this feeding has been a daily occurrence, the bucks soon got used to it. Only the same number of bowls as deer to be fed are filled, so they tend to stay put rather than waste time moving from bowl to bowl.
Problems with the bowls on the ground occurred when the bucks knocked the buckets about so that we could not reach the bowls from the outside of the fence or, as does happen, someone pooped in a bowl. Snow, ice and rain also caused some difficulties. Sometimes, antlers got hooked into the fence if the bowl was too close to it. This system with the bowl on a slant keeps the grains as far away from the fence as possible and the bowls are big enough to allow space for brow antlers.
We tried the prototype yesterday using EGee as our test buck. He paced back and forth a few times sniffing the air and trying to figure out this new contraption. After about 30 seconds, he had no trouble digging in as these photos show.
Thanks to our godchild, Miesje Stewart and her cousin Logan Stewart, we have put together six feeding stations and should have all eight at the Reserve by tomorrow.
We have revised our thinking about winter feeding especially since the loss of George and the severity of this winter that never seems to end. In addition to fresh hay daily, we sought help from Lloyd Lee of Ontario Whitetail Ranch for his recipe – each buck gets daily: 1 1/2 part corn, 1/2 part oats/barley mix and 1 part dairy ration. We are using a 16% protein dairy ration because we were unable to get the 18% protein dairy ration that Lloyd uses. We started feeding about 200g on the first day and have worked up to about 600g of this mix per deer per day.
EGee is getting a bit more dairy ration in his 600g as his weight is down. We also de-wormed all the deer with Safe-Guard in the mix for three days (Feb 11, 12, 13). We also added some probiotics (FASTRACK) to his diet and he seems to be holding his own. He is not yet gaining weight, Our vet, Dr. Brian Willows, thinks he will not start gaining weight for at least two weeks.
Here’s a photo of EGee tucked into the horse trailer in the isolation paddock. He’ll be here for 5 days as we have to give him Novo-Trimel twice daily. He is responding well to the meds and the symptoms of lethargy and raspy breathing (pneumonia) are diminishing. He seems to be enjoying his special status!
Residents, volunteers and staff from Fairmount Home visited the Reserve on Sunday to present us with a $100 donation officially sponsoring “EGee” a deer that many had met last summer on a visit. In return, Jane and Allan presented the residents with the antlers shed by EGee this April. The weather on Sunday was cold and windy, but there were many smiles and the visit took place in between rain showers. Thanks to Marilyn Kellar who organized the fundraising at Fairmount and brought everyone including her grandchildren to enjoy the deer. We hope to see everyone again on a sunnier day!
Thanks to Barry Rogers, Fairmount volunteer for the photo.
EGee, March 2008
EGee is back thanks to Don and Wendy who received a call late afternoon yesterday, Saturday, November 15, 2008 that he had been spotted on McConnell Road, north of Wilton. They drove the horse trailer there, spotted him, opened up the trailer and got out the corn. Wendy encouraged him towards the trailer and backed in (there is a front exit, fortunately) and wouldn’t you know EGee walked in and stood still as the doors closed him in.
EGee (for Easy Going) proved worthy of his name and the Bogert family of Toronto who are his sponsors are very glad that he has come back to the fold. We are also happy to inform the residents of Fairmount Home that one of their favourites, EGee, will still be here when they visit on Sunday afternoons in the summer.
Cody feeds EGee, photo by Marion Bogert
On Friday afternoon, August 8, 2008 the Bogert family visited the Reserve to commune with their adopted deer: EGee, Spike and Bash. This family (three generations) continues to support the work of the Reserve and in return, the deer decided to give them the cast 2008 antlers of EGee and Spike. It was the first visit of Tasha to her four-legged adoptee, and she is convinced that her Bash is the most handsome of the herd. All agree that EGee is definitely one of the most friendly and he was happy to accept apples and carrots from Paige, Holly, Georgia and Cody. Spike is still a bit cautious about accepting food from human beings, but Cody had a good throw and made sure Spike got his share.
Many thanks to all the members of this generous family!
It looks like EGee is the one with the wonky antlers this year. We are not sure why, but his trey antlers are branched and this is unusual. In our three years working with the bucks, we haven’t seen this variation. One theory is that because of the increase in number of flies this year, he has been using his antlers to scratch and somehow altered their shape by doing so. Any other theories out there?
This photo is from a weird angle and makes his palmation look huge, but it also shows his branched-out trey antlers. Trey antlers are halfway between the brow and the palm and are usually a single prong 5 or 6 inches in length.
The bucks are doing very well this summer. The frequent rains have kept them surrounded by growing green grass and they are enjoying every morsel. Thanks to Emerald and Don Murphy we have our barn almost full of hay bales and expect one more wagon full from Bruce Burt next week.
July is a great time to see their beautiful spotted coats and touch velvet antlers. We continue to be open every Sunday at 2pm and hope to see you at the Reserve soon.